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Melbourne’s popular ‘Little Cupcakes’ fined for underpaying staff from India, South Korea, Indonesia

Cupcakes from Little Cupcakes at Degraves Street in Melbourne. Source: Flickr/Julie CC BY 2.0

A Federal Circuit Court has fined Shri Krishna Guru Pty Ltd, the operator of Melbourne’s popular Little Cupcakes retail stores, and its director Shreyansh Dharmesh Shah nearly $50,000 for underpaying their employees.

Melbourne’s popular bakery, Little Cupcakes, has copped a fine for underpaying 35 employees from the Federal Circuit Court.

Shri Krishna Guru Ptv Ltd, which operates retail stores in Melbourne’s Degraves Street and William Street, was fined $41,580. The court also imposed a penalty of $8,316 against company director Shreyansh Dharmesh Shah. 


Highlights:

  • Melbourne’s popular Little Cupcakes fined nearly $50,000 for underpayment of wages
  • Most employees were visa holders from India, South Korea, India, Indonesia
  • Director Shreyansh Shah, Shri Krishna Guru Pty Ltd, pay amount in full

The company has previously operated a store on Queen Street and currently runs a baking facility in Armadale.

“The penalties were imposed in response to Shri Krishna Guru Pty Ltd underpaying 35 employees a total of $57,179.69 between January 2018 to February 2019, and contravening record-keeping and pay slip laws. Mr Shah was involved in the contraventions,” the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) said in a statement.

“The underpaid employees worked across the Little Cupcakes stores and the baking facility. Ten of part-time employees were juniors aged under 21 and most of the employees were visa holders from countries including South Korea, India and Indonesia,” it added.

Mini Cupcakes from Little Cupcakes, Degraves St, Melbourne
Mini Cupcakes from Little Cupcakes at Degraves Street in Melbourne.
Flickr/Mira Pangkey CC BY 2.0

Responding to a query from SBS Hindi, Mr Shah said that the “major contravention was a misclassification of the awards program rate.”

“We hired employees as permanent part-time, but we’re made aware by FWO that they should have been classified as casual employees,” Mr Shah said in a written statement.

“As soon as we were made aware of these by FWO, we rectified our hiring system and settled the differences of underpayments immediately,” he added.

The FWO said most underpayments were related to casual loading under the Fast Food Industry Award 2010.

“Employees were also variously underpaid leave loadings, minimum-engagement pay, minimum hourly rates and loadings for weekend, public holiday, evening and overtime work under the Award.

“Underpayments of individual workers ranged from $20.08 to $10,960.77. The company has rectified the underpayments in full,” it added.

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